How To Make the Perfect Pignoli Cookie

I open the front door to my Nonna’s house and I am immediately flooded by the delicious aroma of homemade . I follow the scent into the kitchen and lay my eyes on the golden brown bite-sized pieces of heaven. Before I can even say hello, my Nonna stuffs a cookie into my mouth. As I finish the cookie, my mouth immediately waters for another one.
This recipe has been passed down for generations in my family. “My mom taught me how to make these cookies, and her mom taught her,” explains my Nonna. Every year, around Christmas time, my Nonna makes batches of these cookies, and now it has become a family tradition to indulge in these delicious pignoli cookies during the holiday season. I hope my Nonna’s recipe brightens up your holiday season as it does to mine!

One 15-ounce almond paste
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt
2 large egg whites
1 lemon, zested
1/2 to 3/4 cups pine nuts

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
– Line sheet trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
– In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on high speed until it is really broken up.
– Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on slow speed until well combined.
– Add the honey, cinnamon, salt, egg whites and lemon zest and beat on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and very thick, about 5 minutes.
– Fill a disposable pastry bag with the dough.
– Push the dough towards the tip and cut the tip off the bag.
– Pipe 1-inch balls onto the prepared sheet trays.
– Top with the pine nuts, pressing them into the dough to secure.
– Bake until the cookies are golden, 12 to 14 minutes.